Monday, April 16, 2007

IPU will have a compelling report to deliver to its 116th assembly regarding plight of progressive lawmakers in the Philippines

Monday , April 16, 2007

IPU will have a compelling report to deliver to its 116th assembly regarding plight of progressive lawmakers in the Philippines

Anakpawis Representative and political detainee Crispin Beltran today said that all efforts will be done to make sure the Inter-Parliamentary Union will have a compelling report on the plight of progressive lawmakers and the party-lists they represent.

The IPU will hold its 116th assembly in Bali, Indonesia later this month after it sends a three-person fact-finding team to the Philippines beginning April 18. The team will be comprised of Sen. Rosario Green of Mexico, Sen. Sharon Carstairs of Canada and Ingeborg Schwarz, the IPU human rights committee secretary. Carstairs is vice president of the IPU's committee on human rights of parliamentarians. The IPU officials are set to visit Beltran in his hospital detention room at the Philippine Heart Center on the afternoon of the 18th, and before they leave on the 20th. Consultations with Beltran's family and legal counsels are also scheduled.

"The Philippine government continues to project itself as a democracy, but its actions betray it. The democratic space allowed for expressions of legitimate political dissent in the form of legal and constitutionally-protected forms has become severely limited since Pres. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo came to power."

"Legislators who do not choose to swing and dance to the tune of the administration are branded government destabilizers and even terrorists. The bloc of progressive party-lists led by Bayan Muna, Anakpawis and Gabriela Women's Party has been viciously attacked and our legislators subjected to various forms of harassment and political persecution. We are being branded as criminals, and our rights as duly-elected representatives of marginalize sectors disregarded and violated."

"The IPU's fact-finding mission could not be taking place at a better and more opportune time. It's the last leg of the campaign season, but the IPU delegation will still be able to see how the politics of patronage still holds sway over the Philippine electoral system. They will also see how the party-list system which was supposedly established to strengthen the representation of the marginalized sectors of Philippine society in congress is being twisted and corrupted. In the meantime, the fact that I remain incarcerated 14 months on false charges and false testimonies is also a testament to the Arroyo government's determination to weaken and crush the progressive party-lists by criminalizing their representatives," he said.

"If the likes of National Security Adviser Norberto Gonzales and justice secretary Raul Gonzalez had their way, each one of the progressive lawmakers will be in jail and disqualified from participating in the elections. They want human rights violators and killers like Jovito Palparan and his party-list to win. The government is also fielding its own party-lists in the malicious effort to corner the party-list system and make it serve the government's agenda in the legislature."


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